ACCI Warns Pakistan To Reopen Wagah Port To Afghan Traders

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The Afghan Chamber of Commerce and Industries (ACCI) on Saturday warned Pakistan that Afghanistan would stop Pakistan from using Afghanistan as a transit route to central Asia unless Pakistan reopened the Wagah transit terminal to Afghan traders.

Pakistan has reportedly closed the border to trucks transporting goods between Afghanistan and India.

Officials said that Pakistan would suffer if Afghanistan had to move forward on this decision.

Wagah is a key goods transit terminal between Pakistan and India.

The chamber warned Pakistan that if it continues to put obstacles in Afghanistan’s way in terms of transporting goods, Afghanistan will take steps to stop Pakistan from transporting its goods through the country to central Asia.

This comes on the same day that President Ashraf Ghani said Afghanistan is no longer isolated geographically and that the country is not dependent on any one port.

Speaking at a gathering to mark Martyrs Week, Ghani touched on the inauguration of transportation with China and Iran and the building of railway links to the two countries.

Just last week, the first ever freight train arrived in Afghanistan from China.

“You know that a few days ago we were linked to China through a railway line, and a railway from Iran has reached Afghanistan. So we are not dependent on any one port. Now Afghanistan is out of its geographical jail,” Ghani said.

Based on statistics from the central statistics organization, more than seven percent of Pakistan’s commodity transfers to central Asia are through Afghanistan and if Afghanistan closes its borders to Pakistan’s goods, the country’s revenue could drop
dramatically.

“I think government’s decision is positive, if the decision is implemented correctly we will prove our rights to Pakistan,” said Hasibullah Mowahid, deputy of central statistics organization.

The chamber meanwhile said that Pakistan has always acted in a way which is against the business agreement signed between Pakistan and Afghanistan.

“Pakistan paved the way for the Afghan government to take similar steps as those taken by Pakistan. We know that if the Afghan government stops Pakistan transportation through Afghanistan, Pakistan will suffer a lot. Right now Afghanistan has access to other ways and we would not face any problems,” said Khan Jan Alokozay, the deputy head of the chamber of commerce and industries.

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